Many games have this curious design problem: the mechanics for PCs and NPCs cannot be the same, because it would impossibly tedious to run it that way. At least, this is true in the case of any even moderately complex system. God forbid you need to run GURPS or D&D, let alone Shadowrun. The absolute hardest part of running Shadowrun, if you are a storyteller who is also a masochist and actually does this, is to stat out all of your NPCs. Character creation in Shadowrun is an ordeal, often taking hours if not days to complete. It’s completely impractical to try and do this for your NPCs, even if you’re only statting up the big hitters. I recall the one Shadowrun game I ran (for a whopping 13 sessions) had only three or four biggies that needed stats and even they took about a week to properly make. This was complicated when one of my players hacked their cyberware and suddenly I needed a precise list of her capabilities, devices, their respective ratings and then how much Essence she had left over and so on. That was a nightmare, and it’s posed a huge barrier to running it again. And sure, there are a few example NPCs in the books that are pre-statted, but there are never enough kinds of them and they don’t work for custom antagonists. Exalted has this same problem. Please try making up an Abyssal on the fly, complete with Charms and Virtues and Ability scores. I dare you. Having tried, what I can tell you is that asymmetry between the players and your NPCs is both healthy and right.

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